Women finish 4th at Big Ten championships

Minnesota freshman Kayla Slechta continued her successful season, placing seventh in the all around, third on vault, and tied for fourth on floor.

Dane Mizutani

Fresh off a 195.475-195.400 victory over North Carolina State last Saturday, No. 21 Minnesota hosted and earned fourth place at the Big Ten championships Saturday, earning 195.325 points.

Michigan continued its reign, capturing its fifth consecutive Big Ten title, scoring 196.600. Penn State was second with a 196.375 and Illinois rounded out the top three with a 196.075.

Minnesota head coach Meg Stephenson was pleased with the teamâÄôs finish.

âÄúAll the women on the team got up there and were so fired up,âÄù Stephenson said. âÄúI just thought they were absolutely beautiful tonight.âÄù

Minnesota freshman Kayla Slechta continued her successful season, placing seventh in the all around, third on vault, and tied for fourth on floor.

âÄúI just went into the meet thinking I have to take it one event at a time, one routine at a time, and not get ahead of myself,âÄù Slechta said. âÄúWhen I heard I was seventh, I was really happy that I did that well for my first year, but definitely know I can improve for the next years and IâÄôm excited to get to work on that.âÄù

Janell Campbell and Kristin Furukawa finished in the top three as well, tying for third on the uneven bars.

Minnesota opened its day competing on the floor, producing its best score of the afternoon with a 49.20. Slechta led the Gophers in the event, tallying a career-best score of 9.90, good for a share of fourth place.

Following their floor routines, the Gophers competed on vault, accumulating a team score of 48.80. Slechta was again the top performer for Minnesota, earning a 9.875 to place third.

Kendra Elm and Shannon Golich each earned scores of 9.775. Janell Campbell scored 9.70, while Lucy Ennis earned a 9.675 to round out the scoring.

Minnesota tallied a score of 48.850 on the uneven bars, led by Campbell and Furukawa. Both gymnasts scored a 9.85 to tie for third.

Elm competed in her second event of the day, after missing last weekâÄôs competition with a lower leg injury. She earned a 9.80, much to the satisfaction of her head coach.

âÄúWeâÄôre hopeful to get her back on more than two events, but I will say, what a performance by her today,âÄù Stephenson said of ElmâÄôs routine. âÄúWe needed her and she stepped up.âÄù

Slechta and Ennis completed the counting scores on the uneven bars with marks of 9.725 and 9.625, respectively.

The Gophers finished the day on the balance beam, compiling a score of 48.475.

They were led on the beam by senior Ana Balboa with a 9.75. Golich earned a 9.725 while DustiRussell had a 9.70. Amber Hammerschmidt scored a 9.675 and Furukawa finalized the counting scores with a 9.625.

Though satisfied with the overall performance, Stephenson said there is definitely room for improvement.

âÄúNot everyone scored a 10, so there is room for improvement,âÄù Stephenson joked. âÄúThere are a couple of routines that can be better and have been better.âÄù

Minnesota now awaits the NCAA Regional Selections, which will be announced today.